Difficulty Ratings

At Alpenventures UNGUIDED, we have tour to fit every skill level, and that are suitable for varying fitness levels. From our 4-day completely flat bike tour that can even be done with an e-bike, to our glacier tour to the high-points of five European countries, we pride ourselves on making adventuring accessible for everyone. Below is the description of our various difficult ratings. If you aren't sure about anything, please ask us. And if you don't see what you are looking for in our tour offerings, then consider letting us organize a custom tour for you. 

For each tour, difficulty ratings are given related to physical condition and technical difficulty under normal conditions. 

When reviewing the ratings please be sure to apply them to the activity that will be undertaken during the tour. For example, a snowshoe tour that has a “Physical Condition” rating of “Middle” will be more challenging than a hiking tour with the same rating.

There is always a possibility that certain conditions may present unexpected challenges on the tours. Some examples include snow fields on an early-season hut hiking tour, a fresh dump of snow on a snowshoe tour or rock-fall on a via ferrata tour. Tour participants should always be prepared to deal with unexpected difficulties. Due to fast rate at which the glaciers are melting, the technical challenges associated with a glacier change each year.

Details regarding daily active times or distance and elevation gain for each tour are included in the Itinerary section of the tour description. Details regarding technical difficulty on a tour are included under the Skills and Experience Required section for that tour.

Technical Difficulty

Low: This tour presents few technical challenges and can be completed without special knowledge and training* 

Middle: Knowledge and training are required in the corresponding activity for this tour. Please check the Skills and Experience Required in the Tour Description for more information

High: This tour presents significant technical difficulty and extensive knowledge and training are required in the corresponding activity for this tour. Please check the Skills and Experienced Required in the Tour Description for more information

*Navigation skills, an ability to judge weather conditions and the ability to pack the right equipment are considered basic knowledge and are required for every Alpenventures UNGUIDED tour

Physical Condition

The physical condition required for each different type of activity can vary. On tours that offer a central accommodation and allow the adventurer to choose their routes each day, such as the Ski Safaris, the minimum required physical condition is marked as low, even though the adventurer can choose more demanding routes.

Activities by Foot

Low: Capable of up to 5 hours of the corresponding activity per day and 610 m./2,000 feet of elevation gain

Middle: Capable of up to 8 hours of the corresponding activity per day and 1,220 m./4,000 feet of elevation gain 

High: Capable of more than 8 hours of the corresponding activity per day and more than 1,220 m./4,000 feet of elevation gain 

Low: Capable of up to 50 km./31 miles per day and 500 meters/1,640 feet of elevation gain per day

Middle: Capable of up to 80 km./50 miles and 800 meters/2,625 feet of elevation gain per day

High: Capable of more than 80 km./50 miles and more than 800 meters/2,625 feet of elevation gain per day

Mountain Biking

Low: Capable of up to 50 km./31 miles per day and 800 meters/2,625 feet of elevation gain per day

Middle: of up to 80 km./50 miles and 1,200 meters/3,937 feet of elevation gain per day

High: Capable of more than 80 km./50 miles and more than 1,200 meters/3,937 feet of elevation gain per day

Bike Touring

Glaciers

As a result of the rapid rate at which the glaciers in the Alps are melting, the technical challenges presented by a glacier vary from year to year. It is important to always ask the staff at a nearby hut about the current conditions, and if there are any challenges present. Below are some situations to be aware of:

Rockfall

As the glaciers melt, the rocks they were previously holding in place are set loose, threatening enormous danger to those below. Luckily, the Alps are heavily traveled, and measures are usually taken to re-route, or even close, routes that are subject to excessive rockfall. This is one reason it is always important to ask the hut staff about current conditions. Even if a route is still open, it may still be subject to rockfall. If a safe line through the terrain isn't obvious, we recommend identifying an alternative route.

Accessing the Glacier

The retreating glaciers expose new terrain each year, making it nearly impossible to keep access trails in good condition. In cases where the newly exposed terrain is steep, and especially when it is lose rock, this can cause a significant jump in technical demand. In particular, when the glacier is adjacent to a via ferrata, there can be a resulting gap between the via ferrata equipment and the glacier. We recommend carrying a rope on all via ferratas that lie adjacent to a glacier.

 

Via Ferratas

There are many different scales that are used to rate via ferrata difficulty. At Alpenventures UNGUIDED, we used the Schall Scale, which is the standard in Austria. 

Schall Scale difficuly ratings for Via Ferratas

For additional information on via ferrata difficulty ratings, and comparison of the various scales, please refer to our All About Via Ferratas page.

© 2020 Alpenventures GmbH based in Ismaning, Germany

bookings@alpenventuresunguided.com

US Phone: +1 719 445 8899

DE Phone: +49 (0) 89 38 03 5305

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